By Jonathan Kelley, Director, User Experience at Ocient
We’re at a pivotal moment in the AdTech industry. The last decade nearly numbed us to the headline statistics on exponential data growth. But as continued growth in connected devices converges with an expansion of our digital world and an acceleration of our digital lives, the volume, variety and velocity of data streaming into AdTech companies now reaches new orders of magnitude.
Big Data has never daunted AdTech leaders. This industry built itself around the Big Data challenge — creating value from new and better ways to process and analyze that data, and delivering differentiated products that unravel the complexity.
Yet we’re rapidly reaching an inflection point. AdTech innovators see opportunities to harness the breadth and depth of data to create new products and more value. But the demands of hyperscale data processing and real-time analytics increasingly overwhelm conventional tech stacks — and overburden the teams that manage that tech.
Put simply, old tech is holding back AdTech.
Reaching the limits of conventional tech stacks
We didn’t get to this point through mistakes or oversights. AdTech companies live at the leading edge of evolving Big Data challenges, strategically pushing the best-available tech to its limits. Part of the “secret sauce” of AdTech leaders was about using ETL processes to make their big data small, and then stitching together various tools and point solutions to process more data, in more complex ways, faster than their competition.
This summarize-then-specialize approach always had its pains and inefficiencies (juggling multiple platforms adds time and cost). But it worked well — very well. Just look at the growth and innovation in AdTech in the last 10 years.
But today, we’re seeing minor cracks turn into major gaps in functionality, and annoying hassles becoming problematic resource drains:
- Data sprawl: AdTech companies must perform data miracles to integrate data that’s siloed across fragmented tech stacks, limiting access to the company’s most essential value (the data).
- Tech bloat: The redundant costs of managing a web of overlapping point solutions increasingly eats into the bottom line. Moreover, staff spend more time on administration of these tools — and less time actually working with the data and driving value.
- Losing data dimensionality: Driving the next wave of innovation requires working with the full richness of data, and too much of that dimensionality is lost in summarization.
Tech catching up with AdTech needs
Major leaps in AdTech innovation have always been powered by advances in computing power, and we’re at the edge of making another big leap forward. Ocient and other leading innovators have harnessed faster CPUs and drives written to optimize this type of technology to pioneer a new breed of modern data warehousing and analytics solutions, optimized to deliver the speed and efficiency to not just handle the volume, variety and velocity of analytics demands — but to consolidate analytics workloads and substantially simplify tech stacks.
With this new breed of technologies, AdTech companies don’t need to choose between speed, scale, and specialization. Next-gen platforms can ingest high dimensionality data in real-time and handle multiple analytics applications within a unified platform and interface.
In other words, the tech is catching up with the needs of AdTech — and opening entirely new possibilities.
Doing more with less: Powering cost-effective innovation
Tech consolidation is typically a cost-efficiency play, and that story is certainly present here. At Ocient, we’re seeing our AdTech partners rapidly realizing efficiencies by simplifying their stacks, eliminating redundant technologies and sizably reducing the overall administrative burden.
But the more exciting story is how we’re seeing Ocient’s AdTech partners drive innovation and growth with the powerful capabilities of a modern, consolidated data processing and analytics platform:
- Resolving data sprawl: Hyperscale data warehousing solutions bring all data into a single source of truth, making it easily and fully accessible — to analytics technologies, to data analysts, and to partners — for new and smarter applications.
- Harnessing hyperscale data in all its richness: Rather than summarizing data to fit tech limitations, the exponential leap in processing power means AdTech can leverage the incoming torrent of data in its full scale and dimensionality to unlock more complex and more granular insights — in real time.
- Advancing analytics: By breaking down data silos and enabling integration of analytics tools, hyperscale data warehouses make it far less costly and complicated to do sophisticated queries, making the vast potential of analytics more accessible to AdTech companies and their agency partners.
- Driving human-powered innovation: It’s no surprise that tech gets the attention, but human ingenuity is the root of innovation in AdTech. Simplifying tech stacks and reducing administrative burdens frees up more time for human-powered innovation, empowering staff to focus energy on developing new applications, creating innovative data products, and delivering valuable insights to agency partners.
Putting hyperscale analytics into action
It’s easy to hype hyperscale, and the concept can be a frustratingly opaque buzz word. How can AdTech companies actually apply hyperscale processing and analytics capabilities to slice and dice data in new, better, and more valuable ways? Here are a few examples of how Ocient’s AdTech partners are leveraging our hyperscale platform:
- Real-time bid opportunity analysis. The proliferation of real-time bidding platforms present opportunities to improve return on ad spend (ROAS) and maximize yield on inventory. But capturing this potential requires the ability to process millions of multi-dimensional bid requests every single second. Our AdTech partners are leveraging hyperscale solutions to simplify and accelerate data ingestion and power high-speed querying for high-cardinality data sets, without requiring the development or deployment of additional data science infrastructure. This is enabling these AdTech companies to deliver lightning-fast analytics and needle-in-a-haystack precision to their agency partners to maximize ROAS and yield.
- Richer attribution & campaign reporting. Attribution analysis is a constant balance between speed and depth. Agencies want real-time insights, but they also benefit from deeper, more granular analysis. AdTech companies can use hyperscale platforms to ingest the constant stream of programmatic data and handle the most demanding log-level analysis workloads — minimizing data latency and delivering faster, better, more precise insights for ad spend optimization, while reducing the time and costs to provide this next-level campaign reporting.
- Faster data transformation & activation. One major bottleneck to all analytics applications is the transformation and loading of the wide range of data types — first into the database and then into respective analytics tools. Hyperscale platforms deliver the necessary processing power to accelerate data transformation, while allowing complex aggregations to be performed on the same platform as log-level analytics workloads (no data copying and no performance losses). This accelerates the path from raw data to actionable insights, while meaningfully reducing costs to extract these insights.
- Fueling AI & ML innovation. More hyped than hyperscale, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) promise to continually expand and transform possibilities in AdTech. But like a high-performance engine, ML and AI thrive on the richest data fuel they can access. Unlocking their promise depends entirely on safe and seamless access to the full firehose of multi-dimensional data. AdTech companies are leveraging Ocient’s hyperscale platform to open up the steady stream of rich data without creating additional data risk. Our AdTech partners are also using this advanced computing power to accelerate ML and AI model creation and training, bringing new intelligent products to market faster.
Speed wins: AdTech leaders won’t wait
AdTech is a ruthlessly competitive market. Precision is critical, but speed is king. Ingesting and analyzing data more quickly means bidding faster, optimizing in real-time, and delivering more new features faster to agency and advertising partners.
As the volume, variety, and velocity of data demands tip into hyperscale, we’re at a pivotal moment for the AdTech industry. It’s increasingly clear that conventional technologies won’t be able to deliver the speed, scale, and complexity of processing and analytics that AdTech companies require. The strategy of adding incremental computing capacity and plugging functional gaps with point solutions is an endless game of whack-a-mole. The path of sprawling, fragmented in-house tech stacks is a dead end.
Moreover, the wide world of DSPs, Exchanges, SSPs, Identity Providers, CDPs and Verification Solutions can’t afford to wait until their hand is forced. Even (and perhaps especially) in volatile economic times, the AdTech industry lives by the “innovate or die” paradigm. AdTech companies need to make bold, forward-thinking investments to drive innovation and accelerate while others are pulling back. Those that move quickly to embrace the new generation of hyperscale technologies will rapidly create significant and durable competitive advantages: ingesting richer data and enabling faster analysis to power better audience-building, more precise contextual targeting and deeper campaign insights in real time — providing differentiated value to their clients today and bringing entirely new data-driven products to market tomorrow.
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